49ers, Raiders finding similar methods to disappoint different fan bases


49ers, Raiders finding similar methods to disappoint different fan bases

Roger Goodell Under Fire Again! The Houston Texans Jam A Finger In Their Boss’ Eye! Baseball Caught Using Baby Oil Baseballs! Draymond Green Punished Less Than Others In Incident!

Oh, and the nation is still on fire.

But at least the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have hit and maintained their stride.

After two essentially identical games – both lopsided defeats in the rain – the two teams are essentially bereft of hope and emanate that feeling to their bewildered customers.

The Raiders were manhandled in Buffalo, getting some meaningless passing yards for Derek Carr’s fantasy holders but little else in a game that rekindled all the suspicions that most of the NFL punditocracy had for them at the beginning of year.

The 49ers are, well, the 49ers – seeking while blindfolded where trying to suss when their full-on hell-plummet ends and earth’s crust begins.

But the difference between 3-5 and 0-8 should suggest a complete lack of similarities between the two teams, when in fact they are in many ways a lot alike.

They are 20th and 22nd in yards gained per game, 23rd and 24th in yards per play, 23rd and 24th in rushing yards per game, 10th and 12th in rushing yards per play, 17th and 18th in passing yards per game, 30th and 32nd in time of possession, and minus-2 in takeaways.

Granted, these are all fairly superficial metrics, and a deeper dive would show the differences you’d be looking for in a team on the far fringes of the playoffs and a team long eliminated.

Then again, the 49ers are trying to figure out where their future players lie, not whether they can go 3-13 or 2-14, so their statistics are not nearly so compelling. The Raiders were supposed to have figured all that out already, but have scored more than two touchdowns only twice in eight games, and the quarterbacks they face have a much better quarterback rating than Derek Carr, who is supposed to be a defining force in the league.

In short, these two teams have chosen similar methods to disappoint different fan bases in different ways. You knew what the 49ers would give you, had no idea what the Raiders had in store, but either way you are longing for something else to do with your weekends between now and New Year’s Day.

Maybe you can get back to watching the rest of the league implode, one billionaire at a time. Or the country, one subpoena at a time.

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away


Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

Keith Fahnhorst, who played 14 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and started on two Super Bowl-winning teams, died on Tuesday. He was 66.

Fahnhorst was among a large group of players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team that gathered at Levi’s Stadium in October in a celebration of Dwight Clark. Fahnhorst and Clark were teammates for the 49ers’ Super Bowl-titlle teams of 1981 and 1984. Clark passed away on June 6 from ALS.

Fahnhorst, who was in a wheelchair during his trip to the Bay Area last season, battled many physical ailments since his career ended in 1987. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant in 2002. Fahnhorst was also later diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

A second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1974 from the University of Minnesota, Fahnhorst was a mainstay at right tackle as the organization struggled in the mid-to-late 1970s, then found success in the 1980s under coach Bill Walsh.

“Everybody knew they could count on Keith,” Walsh said in the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have Gone?”

Fahnhorst appeared in 193 regular-season games, ranking behind only Len Rohde among offensive linemen in 49ers history. He started 170 games, including all 10 postseason games in which he appeared. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was selected as a first-team All-Pro after the 1984 season. He was a two-time winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award for best representing the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime 49ers offensive line coach.

Keith Fahnhorst and his younger brother, Jim, were 49ers teammates for the final four years of Keith’s career. Jim Fahnhorst, a linebacker, played for the 49ers from 1984 to 1990. Neither Keith nor Jim Fahnhorst played for any NFL team other than the 49ers.

Jimmy Garoppolo focuses on 49ers' red-zone efficiency

Jimmy Garoppolo focuses on 49ers' red-zone efficiency

SANTA CLARA – In Jimmy Garoppolo’s first three starts last season, the 49ers’ won games in spite of a lousy red-zone offense.

The 49ers were 0-for-5 in converting possessions inside the Chicago Bears’ 20-yards line into touchdowns. They were 2-for-4 against the Houston Texans, and just 1-of-4 against the Tennessee Titans.

That would explain why Garoppolo singled out the team’s red-zone offense as an area he would like to see the team continue to improve.

“I think a big part for us, as a whole, offensively is just finishing in the end zone,” Garoppolo said Wednesday on the final day of the team’s offseason program.

“Last year we got stopped short a couple of times, more than we’d like to. And I think we’ve done a good job in OTAs and minicamp of finishing in the end zone, for the most part. Finishing drives and stuff like that.”

The 49ers finished the season strong in the red zone, converting 11 of their red-zone trips into eight touchdowns in games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams.

In 24 red-zone trips in the five games Garoppolo started, the 49ers scored 11 touchdowns and settled for 12 field goals. He also threw one interception. Garoppolo said the 49ers have enough weapons in the passing game to account for the added difficulty of scoring on those possessions.

“Those are point plays,” Garoppolo said. “They’re either seven-point plays or three-point plays. You know what I mean? Those are the ones that really matter.

The competition between offense and defense has led to some spirited matchups in practices. Garoppolo has routinely looked to tight ends George Kittle and team favorite Garrett Celek to get the touchdown celebrations going.

“It’s hard to complete touchdowns, especially in the red zone like that,” Garoppolo said. “Windows are tighter. Not as much room. So especially when Celek gets one, it gets everyone going.”